May 18, 2022

New Study: On Facebook it is 4.74 Degrees of Separation, Not Six

Via the UMBC (U. of Maryland, Baltimore County) ebiquity Blog:

On Facebook, it’s 4.74 degrees of separation, not six, according to a new study by study by researchers at Facebook and the University of Milan.

With the rise of modern computing, social networks are now being mapped in digital form, giving researchers the ability to study them on a much grander, even global, scale. Continuing this tradition of social network research, Facebook, in collaboration with researchers at the Università degli Studi di Milano, is today releasing two studies of the Facebook social graph.

First, we measured how many friends people have, and found that this distribution differs significantly from previous studies of large-scale social networks. Second, we found that the degrees of separation between any two Facebook users is smaller than the commonly cited six degrees, and has been shrinking over the past three years as Facebook has grown. Finally, we observed that while the entire world is only a few degrees away, a user’s friends are most likely to be of a similar age and come from the same country.

Full Summary of Findings (and Charts): Anatomy of Facebook (via Facebook Blog)

Underlying Studies

The Anatomy of the Facebook Social Graph
by J. Ugander, B. Karrer, L. Backstrom, C. Marlow.

Four Degrees of Separation
by L. Backstrom, P. Boldi, M. Rosa, J. Ugander, S. Vigna.

See Also: Separating You and Me? 4.74 Degrees (via NY Times)

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.